Wednesday, 27 May 2009

A year...

to the day that my newphew was in hospital having life saving and devastating heart surgery; a year less a day since I was visiting two parents in two different hospitals both having had accidents because of other illnesses; a year less two days since I split up with my last serious ex. All that was important to me was vulnerable, and so was I.

A year later, I'm not glad any of those things happened but they were the catalyst for me to go places I never thought I could, starting a chain of events that have left me far better. It has been a strange and incredible year. Today I must at least acknowledge those changes and achievements.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009


I've been scribbling here on and off for a little while, but have never said anything of why. For the past seven months or so I've been seeing a counsellor. It all started after a series of hideous events that left me completely exhausted and lost. I hit a dangerous low.

I'm not sure what made me pick up the phone, but I knew I needed help. I had nowhere to turn, and things had gone too far to get myself back on track alone. I googled counselling in my work post code area, found the nearest centre and called it. No research, no idea of what I was looking for. Within hours I had an appointment arranged, and I couldn't let myself turn back.

I have found the process extremely painful and liberating, but it has also enabled me to write. I found that I couldn't often say what I need to immediately. After a particularly difficult lunchtime session, I got back to work upset, in tears, and needed to let some of it out so I started typing. My counsellor has received thousands and thousands of words from me since. Writing it all allows me to reflect, and give a voice to things I've struggled to say out loud.

Today that process came to an end. My last session, for the time being anyway.

I'm sitting here in tears wondering where there is for my words now. And I guess that's why this space was created. It as been the hardest and most important thing I've ever done. I'm very grateful for the generosity and understanding of a very patient and intelligent man who knows more about the real me than virtually anyone else. I guess it's time for that to change and for me to bring all that I have learnt into the real world, find my voice and my place. I am sad and proud. I will miss that space in my week, and I hope the blog that was created to keep my words going outwards will flourish instead.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009


is a strange thing that sneaks up on you. Intially we resist it when we see it coming, even if we wish for it. We end up wishing it were a different kind of change. Then we forget it's happening and we go along with it. Get used to it. Forget about it, get on with living working or whatever. Then, we remember there was someting afoot a while ago, what was it? We remeber it was change and we were scared, or excited, or confused, or resistant, or optimistic, or, or, or...

Looking back at recent change is, in my current circmstances, hugely cathartic. I've come along way in the short period of a year. I'm shocked and proud of it. I've had a lot of help. Help I had to seek out because I knew I couldn't chnage my circumstances without it. But that in itself, is something I'm really proud of. Over the years I've tried to ask for help and failed. Maybe i wasn't specific enough, or too scared to actually let those around me know how I was feeling. I don't know. This time I succeeded.

Anyway, the reality of change has sneaked up on me. Crept into my life while I was busy focussing on getting through what was in front of me, day by day. Today I looked backwards with new eyes and I was proud. I have come a long way, and I have a long way to go. At least now I know I have it in me to let that change begin with me.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

More of the past

Here is a woman I didn't know. She was my great grandmother and I bear her name. My mother thinks we look alike. I can't judge. There seem to be many mysteries in the communal past of our family, are they actually secrets, or is it just that we can never know everything? I am sometimes shocked by words that come out of my mouth. Shocked because they are not my words, they are my mother's. I, like a parrot, occasionally find myself speaking phrases, commands, opinions that are not my own. How many of these came from her mother, and her mother's mother? Are there family phrases and opinions that still remain which came from the woman in this photo? Words distilled down the years gaining strength or becoming weaker in an intergenerational game of chinese whispers.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Is it...

...perhaps that I need to do something in order to think nothing and merely feel? Is this stating the obvious?

Music and yoga

What is it in music that enables us to be more alive whilst at the same time completely switching off? Today has been a challenging day. I was confronted with questions about things I couldn't grasp, no matter how hard I tried. It's all a bit like being back at school. Sitting in the physics classroom, understanding everything that's going on until I get home take out my notes, attempt to do my homework and realise that none of it makes any sense. I got at the time, whilst I was in the room, but that understanding failed to become part of me.

No matter how I'm feeling my fiddle lifts into a different space. Completely engaged in something and with other people but somehow totally switched off. Concentration and listening blocking out any other thoughts. It leaves me feeling calm, even after a busy session of fast and furious tunes.

Exercise is the only other thing that seems to do this for me. Daft that I can be lifting weights, or furiously buzzing round in an aerobics class, surrounded by loud music, lots of other people and a shouting instructor and inside I am completely focused and calm. What is it about these things that achieves this? Are we all the same? I don't know.

Today has been topped and tailed by yoga and fiddle playing and I am calm, despite what confronted me in the middle.

A little creativity...

I have finally figured out how to tweak the appearance of my Blog! Who knows if it'll stay this way for long. Playing with it could be fun, and frustrating. Help courtesy of some plain English at Worth a look.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Deja vu?

I returned to the city I grew up in two and half years ago to help care for my parents. My father is now permanently in hosptial and my mother is coping better on her own and is in remission for now. So, for the first time since I've returned I'm finally finding the space and time to get to know this place again.

I've always spent a lot of time here, weekend visits, uni holidays and so on. But I've seen the city through the eyes of my young self. Somewhere I was returning to, looking backwards at. I'm quite suddenly beginning to look forwards at these old familiar places and take what I want from them. Reshaping the paradigm. Finding a new community in familiar places and looking in the corners I'd never stopped an explored before. I have new eyes.

I will do my best to continue this journey and delve below the surface of the city I thought I knew, and only now realise how little of it I have discovered. It is an odd thing seeing the same things with a different view. I hope it is a journey I will enjoy. It can only be embraced with an open mind and in allowing myself to peel away the layers of years to discover its reality.